Families that are traveling with toddlers have so much they can explore, and the benefits of travel for kids are endless. But traveling with toddlers can also be daunting. We get it. You’re juggling schedules, connecting flights, and dealing with different time zones. Mix that with over-excited and exhausted children and you can expect unforeseen challenges in your smooth-flowing trip.
But, with some planning, patience, and a few helpful tips, there are ways to make traveling with toddlers easier. A little research goes a long way, and lucky for you, we’ve done some of it already.
Traveling With Toddlers Made Easier
Traveling with toddlers offers endless possibilities for learning new things and the benefits of traveling with your toddlers are endless, ranging from boosted cognitive and linguistic development to empathy. Traveling with toddlers helps them learn more about the similarities between different cultures.
But these same benefits can also provide anxiety for a toddler. Traveling can feel relatively unfamiliar at first. Fleeting crowds, constant announcements, and a sensory overload aren’t ideal for toddlers.
The key to traveling with toddlers is lots of planning. Set achievable goals and align your expectations accordingly, to help ease the flow of your vacation. Pick a location that’s easy to navigate and can be an option that aligns with your kid’s interests. Balance your travel explorations with opportunities for your child to play in familiar spaces so they can refuel their energy. As much as they enjoy different experiences, coming back to familiar environments (think: playground or park) can help them reground and bring a sense of familiarity.
(Is your toddler fast-approaching preschool stage? This article sheds light on best travel practices with your preschooler.)
How to Travel With a Toddler: Top Tips
- Be strategic about travel arrangements: Book a direct flight at night for plane trips, and encourage your toddler to sleep on the plane. Opt for a lower number of connecting flights and fewer modes of transportation. If you’re on a road trip, plan for adequate pit stops and accommodations if you’re traveling late into the night. The further in advance you can plan your itinerary, the easier it will be to ensure you have all your “what-ifs” covered.
- Don’t cut corners on comfort: When traveling with toddlers, reducing potential meltdowns is the key to success. Choose the accommodations that are not too far from the areas you’ll be exploring, so you’re not stuck carrying a tired toddler, and ruining your vacation.
- Don’t overpack: Nothing is more nerve-wracking than checking into your flight and having to swap things between your carry-on to make your luggage lighter. Lighten your load by packing less. You’ll also streamline your packing and unpacking process if you have multiple stops on your trip.
- Opt for child-friendly services: Toddlers and long waits don’t mix well. If there are options for streamlining your travel processes, like getting TSA approval before your trip, go for it. Ensure all paperwork is in order and carry extra copies of any crucial documents.
- Confirm all of your reservations right before you leave: Nothing is more disheartening than finding out that your stay has been canceled, especially in a foreign city. Keep a written record of all hotel addresses and confirmation numbers, in case your phone battery dies or you lose reception.
- Pack your toddler’s favorites: Snacks, water, wet wipes and extra outfits all make traveling with a toddler easier. Don’t forget their lovey blanket or preferred stuffed toy; this will add some familiarity and routine to an experience that might have them feeling out of sorts.
- Plan activities: Bring games or coloring books to keep your toddler preoccupied. Check your hotel to see if there are any specific kid-friendly activities and carve out some time to participate.
- Have a Plan B: Explore different options when choosing a destination. Since many places might not be kid-friendly, being flexible and open to changes avoids disappointments. Always prepare a backup plan for unforeseen events. Add buffer dates to your travel plan and pace your trip accordingly.
- Explore child care at your destination. A reputable hotel often has a list of childcare services accessible to all, from off-site options to drop-in child care. When choosing a childcare service, cross-check and verify the reputation of the services provided. Many hotels offer slotted babysitting services in the hotel or even kids clubs tailored to keep your kids entertained while you’re enjoying date night.
At Vivvi, we believe that children have so much to learn outside the classroom space. Traveling with toddlers is a great way to expose children to new cultures, people, and dynamics. Traveling with toddlers doesn’t have to be stressful, especially with these strategies!